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Plumpton 18/11/19

Between this meeting and Fontwell a day earlier, the plethora of heavy ground two and half mile races meant that anyone who had the horse and wanted to run in the south-east in such conditions but did not was simply not trying hard enough. There were even three more at Lingfield on Tuesday but anyone expecting that to be off could be forgiven their pessimism. Despite a Cheltenham bonus chase on the card it was not Plumpton's finest meeting but for people that endured the immensely inept "War Of The Worlds" adaptation on BBC the previous evening, it looked like the greatest of entertainment - and even art.

Going: Soft, Heavy places

Race 1: Sky Sports Racing On Sky 415 Novices’ Hurdle [2m 4.5f]

1: Go Whatever     2: Fort Denison     3: Quloob

Winner owned: Anthony Ward-Thomas, trained: Chris Gordon, ridden: Tom Cannon

There was a morning plunge on Go Whatever for this and it paid off as he controlled the race from the front. Definite promise, in excess of a weak bumper run on stable debut, had been shown last time but it had been only six days earlier and on testing ground, so the people who steamed in had lots of faith in Go Whatever’s appetite for hard work. In contrast Quloob was feared to be unsuited by the ground and so it proved although by heaving round into a place he at least confirmed notable raw ability, even if not able to get the most out of it. Fort Denison, a one time winner on the flat, was not beaten woefully on debut and improved a bit here. The direction of travel is towards philosophical enlightenment. An interesting though slightly less obvious contender was Lamanver Bel Ami, who had been off for ten months after running adequately in a couple of soft ground bumpers. He stopped very suddenly in the back straight but did complete, sounding like a horse badly in need of a wind surgery.

Fort Denison (2nd): With ability shown in the past, he is capable of hurdle success – probably more likely in handicaps than novice races.

+ Lamanver Bel Ami (7th): When he appears with a wind op reported, look for plenty of improvement to be possible, although it may take a run or three. Getting handicapped and then being treated would be a major hint.
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Go Whatever leads over either the second or seventh hurdle, with Fort Denison (left) and The Grey Scholar breathing down is neck in sinister fashion. Lamanver Bel Ami is the one in green kit.

Race 2: Download The Free At The Races App Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase [2m 3.5f]

1: Champagne Court     2: Diable De Sivola     3: Mercy Mercy Me

Winner owned: IF Gosden & DJ Coles, trained: Jeremy Scott, ridden: Nick Scholfield

After greatly impressing UK-Jumping with his Sandown chase debut, Champagne Court came here and repeated his ruthless efficiency in a race not plagued with the jumping errors that often define novice chasing at Plumpton. He was continually harrassed by Diable De Sivola, but that horse was in his ninth try at fences and is yet to win one, so nobody really thought that anything was going to happen to force an upset. Mercy Mercy Me was a fair bumper horse that could not win a hurdle – although getting pitched into Grade 1 and 2 company did not help. Before this season he had a wind op but it had not seemed to make any difference, positive or negative, and his chase debut was also not a game changer. But it was not bad either, and he is worth monitoring, just in case.

Diable De Sivola (2nd): He did nab a Uttoxeter juvenile hurdle on racing debut in July 2016 but has no successes since. This was the sixth time in the runner-up slot, adding to five third places. Even for others as effusive in appreciation of Champagne Court as this site, it was not a performance that stated without fail that this horse is about to turn over a new leaf.

Race 3: Sky Sports Racing On Virgin 535 Selling Handicap Hurdle [2m]

1: Flanagans Field     2: Outrath     3: Goldslinger

Winner owned & trained: Bernard Llewellyn, ridden: Charlie Price

The return of selling races to Plumpton, their spiritual home in the south-east. The winner, who joined Go Whatever in being heftily supported in the morning betting, was a bit too old and exposed to draw a bid, but that was the nature of the race – it attracted horses for whom a seller should be a natural bolt hole, one in which they can be capable of consistent performance, but the first three home were aged eleven, nine and seven, leaving it to fourth placed Sixties Secret to best represent the kids – and she may have only managed fifth if Legend Of France had not tipped over at the second last. Outrath was the key marker for this as he has been rolling along nicely in defeat over the last couple of months plus and ran up to that form. Flanagans Field took his fourth win here, a figure that should be higher based on the balance of his performances. But if that were the case, he would likely not have been un this race.

+  Legend Of France (F): When she got her initial win over course and distance last December, the handicapper intervened to prevent a follow up. There were signs here that she is finding her feet back in class 5 level.

x  Goldslinger (3rd): Won four flat races in two and a half months in 2015 but for the rest of his life has one success from 44 tries. Nothing is happening over hurdles to suggest anything is about to change.
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Goldslinger (7) and Mrs Jack command the early exchanges, but in a rare treat the winner is mostly visible - Flanagans FIeld sports the mostly red colours. Handsome Bob is failing to sneak up the inner, whereas on the other side Hi There Silver is ahead of Iballisticvin. Seems that mid-div at halfway = non-factor at the end.

Race 4: Jumps Stable Tours Available On attheraces.com/jumps Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle [2m 4.5f]

1: Juge Et Parti     2: Vaziani     3: Coded Message

Winner owned: El Jefe, trained: Archie Watson, ridden: Brodie Hampson

The race looked to be at the mercy of recent winner Juge Et Parti, and having a rider with forty Rules wins compared to only eight for the other four combined was hardly a nuisance to his chances. However, Juge Et Parti has a bit of a reputation for enthusiasm that varies wildly from day to day, so getting stuck in at short prices was a brave call. He prevailed but Vaziani, from a yard that has edged onto the cold list, gave Juge Et Parti quite a scare – all the way to the winning post. From some angles it may even have looked as if he nosed ahead on the run-in but did not care for what he saw there. Coded Message had a very steady spring until pulling up at Cheltenham in April. The autumn return is now made up two steady efforts as well. Some form of elevated contribution is needed.

+ + Vaziani (2nd): Since winning a Taunton juvenile hurdle two years ago he has not run all that often and usually in class 2 or 3 handicaps. This step into class 4 was appreciated and when the yard is noodling along more energetically he can get back to victory – before this any attempted operation on muddy ground and two and a half miles were both only in the “probably tolerable” category.

+  Coded Message (3rd): Proved her mud loving credentials in a Lingfield novice success but then put in her next best outcome over 2m 7f on good. Seeing as she is quite ground and distance adaptable it is about time she was getting involved in winning again, and she has not been that far off in both autumn runs.
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Juge Et Parti is easy to spot in the sunshine, with Vaziani a little more shy

Race 5: Follow At The Races On Twitter Handicap Chase [2m 3.5f]

1: Duhallow Lad     2: Le Couer Net     3: Finnegan's Garden

Winner owned: Burnham P&D Ltd, trained: Alan Jones, ridden: Tom O'Brien

There were only five here but they made quite a ding-dong of the race, with Duhallow Lad eventually coming out on top, surging clear from the last as Finnegan’s Garden ran out of puff – improvement on a sluggish return to action but he is not on the handicapper’s good side for the near future. The latter had been first under pressure when things got fierce, but two out he was keeping on with more purpose than any bar Duhallow Lad, mainly to annoy people who bet in running. In practical terms, this race was nicely set up for Duhallow Lad, who was not as badly handicapped as his rivals and in his infrequent appearances since the last win has never been a total washout. Le Couer Net tried to throw down a challenge in the home straight but once a bit of positional jostling had sorted out, Duhallow Lodge went away from him again.

Duhallow Lad (1st): Could stand the likely handicap rise when getting a Plumpton-esque course, heavy ground and two and a half miles.

x x  Le Couer Net (2nd): Came through with a threatening run but it all petered out to nothing, as per usual - bar one dayin a terrible Ffos Las two miler.

Race 6: Sky Sports Racing Handicap Chase [3m 4.5f]

1: Cheque En Blanc     2: Dylanseoghan     3: Tommy The Rascal

Winner owned: Mrs Elizabeth Kiernan, trained: Gary Moore, ridden: Jamie Moore

A brave win for Jamie Moore as despite only four remaining in the race and Cheque En Blanc going best of them, the other three managed to co-operate with evil intent to the degree of boxing him on the inside rail as they went around the station bend. But with Cheque En Blanc in such good heart, all that was needed was for one rival to drift right and provide a gap, which is almost inevitable at this course. Dylanseoghan, who is a very similar type to Cheque En Blanc in that they were rated one pound apart, both have won over this course and distance and both had a possible heavy ground aversion whilst being fine on soft, battled on intensely but had called it quits with a hundred metres or so remaining. At the last meeting here Tommy The Rascal had been second in bad race despite being seventeen pounds out of the handicap. The response was to be raised seventeen pounds and he showed here that the form which drove those events is probably not the most reliable around – although he certainly did not perform badly.

+  Cheque En Blanc (1st), Dylanseoghan (2nd): Both are in a position to drop into the Sussex National at the foot of the weights in early January, and the proven course and distance skills are handy tools to have. Should it come up heavy, they may still be vulnerable to a rival that positively loves the worst ground here.

Race 7: Visit Attheraces.com Handicap Hurdle [3m 1f]

1: Timely Gift     2: Truckers Cailin     3: Chloe's Court

Winner owned: Carl, JJ, Chris, Mike, John & Hugh, trained: Tim Vaughan, ridden: Alan Johns

Usually the joy of these staying hurdles is that half the field (or more) can be eliminated from consideration due to expected or even demonstrated stamina failings. This time we had nine involved who were either known to last this far or were new out of novice company and shaped as if stamina would be a strength. They may not be supported speculatively, but they merited fear. Once the mental meltdown of having exactly what was not expected shoved upon us had gone away (the race being outside the Placepot helped) it was quite an exciting finale. Timely Gift dragged the field into the run for home but he had quite a horde trying to chase him down. Snapshots at the last two hurdles, and maybe between, would lead us to think one of them would catch him, but who might it be? None were able, it turned out but Truckers Cailin only failed by three-quarters of a length, and Chloe’s Court by half a length more. At this point it was remembered that Timely Gift had lost his last race just narrowly to Good News, who had followed up a day before this. Favouritism sat with High Up In The Air, who had not impressed on handicap debut so appeared to be a rather wild guess at where to drop the cash. He seemed to be doing alright until a mistake four out caused an instant lack of commitment.

+ + Truckers Cailin (2nd): Got handicapped when the yard was out of form, and with two of the races over fences. He went close today and can improve a lot on it.
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